I’m finished my first read of The Church in Emerging Culture. It’s been a long time since I’ve found myself so engaged with a book. My only complaint is that I feel like an intellectual lightweight compared to the five contributors. That’s not their fault, though. Each of the views made me cheer at times, and most of them made me frustrated too. At times, I thought that they talked past one another. The two questions were, “Should the message change?” and “Should the methods change?” leading to four possible positions (unchanging message and methods, changing message and unchanging methods, unchanging message and changing methods, and changing message and methods). The contributors never really came to a common definition of method and message. Before arguing on whether the message should change, for example, it helps to define what the message is. They also sometimes presented false dichotomies (e.g. choosing between the person of Christ and the message of Christ). Several times throughout the book, I recognized errors that I’ve made, and continue to make, in my praxis. More significantly, I discovered unquestioned presuppositions I’ve held which turn out to be unhelpful, if not wrong. I learned something useful from each of the perspectives, and while my choice of the four alternatives remains the same, I think I’m more aware of where my approach falls down and the others have something to offer. What’s more, I like the best of the positions I think are wrong than the worst of the position I think is right. (At times, I feel ashamed by those who hold the same position I do, yet seem to get it so obviously wrong.) Thanks to Len Sweet and the contributors for a great book. I hope this is only the start of the discussion.